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Issue:- 09 September 2010

Pontins Holiday Village Will Rock In November!

ON 8 September 2010, plans to create a special delivery vehicle to take forward the Atlantic Gateway concept were widely welcomed, following a meeting between Local Authority Leaders and Peel Holdings. This new vehicle will work closely with and be accountable to the three sub-regional LEPs (Cheshire and Warrington, Greater Manchester and Liverpool), once these are formed. This approach means that there is no requirement for a separate AG LEP.

Atlantic Gateway is an outstanding opportunity for collaboration across the Manchester to Liverpool area with the potential for driving over 100,000 new private jobs on the back of £50 to 75bn of private sector investment.

The Leaders were clear and unanimous in their view that a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) based on Atlantic Gateway would be unnecessary and counter productive. Together with Peel they have agreed with Peel that there should be a vehicle established accountable to the three LEPs take forward the exciting, unique and innovative opportunity offered by Atlantic Gateway. Although the governance arrangements for such a vehicle have still to be agreed and are likely to include representatives from the 3 LEPs and key private sector interests in the area.

In today’s global economy, business is no longer reliant simply on what goes on in a local context, but also on infrastructure and innovation both nationally and internationally, as reflected in the Atlantic Gateway strategy already agreed by Local Authority Leaders.

Atlantic Gateway is a wide thematic framework based on issues best dealt across the wider geography but is also based upon ensuring the infrastructure is in place to support private sector growth. Peel Holdings and other substantial firms in the area have a strong part to play in this.

Leaders considered the widely reported LEP submission by Peel to Government and have agreed with Peel that a joint ambition should be the creation of a new vehicle, with collaboration between the 3 LEPs in the area and the private sector focussed on delivering the strategy.

It was agreed that, given the rapidly changing policy environment it was vital not to lose momentum on an Atlantic Gateway strategy and collaboration which has the potential to become, working with the LEPs, an agent for transformational change – helping to rebalance the UK economy with Manchester and Liverpool at the heart of a resurgent North.

John Merry, Chair of the Atlantic Gateway Leaders Group said:- “We’ve come a long way in the North West in recognising that we work better together than alone – take the strength of partnership within AGMA for example. It is a big leap to break down old rivalries and join forces, and this is what Atlantic Gateway is all about. It is critical that we keep this important collaboration on track and in line with other developments in the region. We need to ensure that whatever is created complements the activities of the three LEPs rather than being in the position of competing for resources. We agree that this should not be a LEP but a new vehicle which has a clear remit to work together with the 3 LEPs in the area on the fundamental economic issues which span boundaries. I’m sure Government will like the innovation that the public and private sector in the North West is showing through Atlantic Gateway and we see no reason why Peel’s underlying plans, in particular, those on Finance and Community Funds, should not be given very careful consideration.”

John Whittaker said:- “We are pleased that the Atlantic Gateway leaders endorse our ideas to create a specialist delivery vehicle within the new LEP framework proposed by HM Government to bring forward the large scale and long term investment required to address some of the deep rooted issues we face including rebalancing the UK economy in favour of the North and encouraging new investment on a significant scale.”

MEPs raise animal testing standards

NEW controls on the use of animals in laboratory testing across Europe were agreed today by the European Parliament.  The new law is intended to balance concerns about animal welfare with the need to ensure that medical research can continue. 

The Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies said the outcome was a compromise that would raise standards across the continent. "No country has to relax controls already in place, but every country will now have to meet minimum criteria for animal welfare."

Rescue workers team up to offer safety advice to coastal visitors in Merseyside

RNLI lifeguards and HM Coastguard’s Mud Rescue team at a recent joint rescue exercise. (Credit RNLI)THE emergency maritime rescuers on the north west coast have joined together to issue important safety advice to walkers and beach users in Merseyside.

The move comes after several recent incidents where people have become stranded in mud patches on beaches along the Sefton coast.

Now, RNLI lifeguards and volunteers from Crosby’s HM Coastguard Rescue Service, who provide mud rescue in the area, are advising people on the best way to ensure a safe visit to the area’s beaches.

RNLI Area Lifeguard Supervisor, Pete Rooney said the advice is particularly timely as the summer lifeguarding season in Sefton comes to an end on Sunday 12 September 2010.

Pete said:- "RNLI lifeguards will continue to patrol Crosby beach during daylight hours throughout the winter months but visitors to other beaches in the area really should make an extra effort to check the signage at the beach entrances and conditions with the local Coastguard team before starting their walks."

HM Coastguard’s Mud Rescue team is the official declared emergency asset for mud rescue on the Sefton coastline, with an area of responsibility stretching from Warrington in the south to Preston marina in the north.

Steve Mee, Coastguard Station Officer at Crosby Mud Rescue, said the team attended more than 100 call outs last year, with around a fifth concerning mud rescues.

With the majority of coastline mud concentrated between the north Liverpool and Formby area, Steve said remembering and following basic advice should stop people getting stuck.

Steve said that:- "With 31 years experience operating along this stretch of coastline, no quicksand has ever been identified or located in the area, as far as we are aware. What we do have are areas of deep mud with hard packed sand underneath. There’s no doubt that getting caught in a patch of sticky mud can be frightening but if people remember the advice and try not to panic, they won’t come to any harm."

Both the RNLI and HM Coastguard advise visitors who are getting stuck in the mud to follow their tracks back to the last firm surface they stepped off from. If people are surrounded by mud, they should call 999 and ask for the coastguard who will dispatch the relevant emergency team to assist.

With up to 18 members, the Coastguard Mud Rescue team is mainly tasked to respond to incidents along Crosby beach around Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ installation. Signage placed by Sefton Council along the 2.4 mile stretch of beach advises visitors not to venture 50 metres beyond the promenade to the low tide mark due to the soft mud.

Pete said:- "We encourage people to visit the coast and enjoy the statues, but please remember to stay within 50 metres of the promenade. If you do wish to go further down, please visit the lifeguards on duty and ask for advice on any areas to avoid."

MEP welcomes young record-breakers

A North West Euro-MP has called on the European Parliament to congratulate children in Gaza who this summer broke two world records.

Chris Davies told MEPs in Strasbourg that 7200 Palestinian children in the territory that is under Israeli blockade came together to break world records for bouncing basketballs and for flying kites.

The events took place at summer schools organised by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

The Liberal Democrat, who has visited Gaza four times, said that the world heard often about the difficulties faced by the 1.6 million people living in Gaza but too rarely of events that brought pleasure and joy. 

He said that:- "Over half the people in Gaza are less than 18 years old. They cannot be blamed for any disputes with Israel and they have too few opportunities to enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood."

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